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Antigua

Antigua Island Hopping

Barbuda beach
Barbuda beach. © Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority
The two-island country of Antigua and Barbuda offers island hopping for obvious reasons -- there are two islands after all -- but the hopping isn’t limited to just those two.

Antigua is the largest member of the English-speaking Leeward Islands, and it’s one of the most popular Caribbean islands for resort and cruise visitors.

Anyone visiting Antigua with enough time to spare and an interest in seeing nearby islands will find plenty of opportunities to see them by boat or air, starting with Barbuda.

Barbuda


Barbuda, which lies almost directly north of Antigua, is rarely mentioned in travel publications because so few people live or visit there except for a handful of small resorts.

It is the place to go for a day or more of peace, quiet and few crowds. Popular places to visit are the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, beautiful reefs, pink and white sand beaches, and a wide variety of shipwrecks.

Visitors can reach the island in 90 minutes by boat or 15-20 minutes by air.

The Barbuda Express runs five days a week between St. John’s and Barbuda. Round trip fares for adults are about $96 U.S. Fares for children are reduced based on age.

http://www.barbudaexpress.com/

ABM Air provides flights between Antigua and Barbuda. Ticket prices were not available on the airline’s Web site. Winair serves the airport in Codrington from Antigua.

Montserrat


Montserrat is a mountainous and volcanic island lying southwest of Antigua. Like Barbuda, it attracts a small number of tourists and is not mentioned often in travel publications.

This British Overseas Territory has a population of only about 6,000 people -- about three times more than Barbuda -- but it has one distinct difference.

Soufriere Hills volcano has erupted several times since 1995, according to the CIA Factbook. A massive eruption in 1997 destroyed most of Plymouth, the island’s capital city located on the southern coast of the island. The eruption left the southern half of the island uninhabitable, while the northern half contains the population.

Despite the damage cause in 1997, the island continues to attract about 7,000 tourists a year because of it’s rugged mountains and undisturbed coastlines.

A ferry service from M&M Transportation runs between Antigua and Montserrat, but no information about fares is available at this time.

Little Bay Ferry Terminal, a 3,000-foot facility that opened in December 2013, is located on the northern tip of the island in St. Peter Parish.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/M-M-transportation-services-ltd/319087301441370

Fly Montserrat operates flights among Antigua, Nevis and Montserrat. Round trip tickets are $125.

http://www.flymontserrat.com/

St. Kitts-Nevis


Barbuda and Montserrat are the two best islands for island hopping from Antigua using either a ferry or plane.

The next nearest islands are another two-island group of St. Kitts and Nevis, with Nevis being slightly closer.

However, no ferry service is available between Antigua and St. Kitts-Nevis, although several airlines offer flights between the islands. They include Fly Montserrat, WinAir and LIAT. Round trip tickets cost about $200 U.S.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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December 08, 2014

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